Is Singing Necessary?

Damon Runyon


April 11.

DEAR SIR when my wife Ethel and me got home from the movies the other night she ses listen Joe is singing necessary?

I ses what do you mean is singing necessary? Ethel ses I mean in the movies lately there is an awful lot of singing and I was wondering if it is necessary.

I ses why Ethel the singing is to entertain people and she ses what is entertaining about it? I ses well Ethel to tell you the truth I do not know. She ses does it entertain you? I ses Ethel I must admit it does not entertain me but then I am not a singing man myself so I have no kick coming about it. I ses I thought you liked singing.

She ses well I do but not all the time. It has got so now you never get to see a movie that does not have somebody singing in it. Sometimes I could almost scream there is so much singing and besides the way they do it in the movies it is not natural.

I ses why Ethel how is it not natural? She ses well you take that movie tonight where the fellow was in love with the girl and they went for a stroll under the trees and sat down on a log. He never said boo to her but just started off singing at her in a tenor voice. Do you think that was natural Joe?

I ses do you mean do I think the tenor voice was natural? She ses I am serious Joe. I mean do you think it was natural for a fellow in love with a girl to start singing to her in any kind of a voice while setting on a log? I ses well Ethel maybe they just put it in that way to make it romantic. She ses what was romantic about it? I ses well maybe the walk under the trees was romantic.

Ethel ses I am not talking about the walk under the trees so much. I am talking about the fellow singing to the girl he was in love with while setting on a log. She had to just set there twisting her hat in her hands by the ribbons while he was singing and nobody has worn hats like that for years. She looked like an awful ninny. Do you think that was natural Joe?

I ses Ethel for all I know maybe it was natural and she ses what with ants around crawling up somebody’s stockings? I ses how do you know there was ants around there and she ses why there are always ants around logs. I ses well Ethel maybe the fellow just took a chance and she ses all right but what about when they was out riding on horses and the fellow started to sing to her from the horse’s back? Do you think it was natural for a fellow to sing to somebody he loves in that position?

I ses Ethel I guess that would be a little awkward at that and she ses what about when the girl was walking along the street and the fellow walked up beside her and took her arm and started singing at her? Do you think that was natural Joe?

I ses well Ethel maybe something like that could happen at that and she ses why Joe Turp a girl would be embarrassed half to death if a fellow did that to her on the street and the people going past would think he was crazy. What do you suppose I would have done before we was married if you had walked up beside me on the street and took my arm and started singing to me?

I ses what would you have done? Ethel ses I would have batted you over the head with my handbag thats what I would have done. I ses you would would you? She ses yes I would. Then I would have called a cop. I ses well Ethel one thing you have got to give me credit for then is I never tried to sing at you and she ses what about the Halloweves night you came round and sang around and sang at me under my window in the most terrible voice?

I ses all right what about it? Ethel ses well it was terrible and my Pops was going to go down and run you off but he ses you was probably loaded a little so we had better forget it. I ses look Ethel I never was loaded more than a few times in my life and that was not one of the times. I ses as for your Pops running me off any time I would like to see him try it. I ses another thing was my voice was not so terrible either and the whole trouble was neither you or your family had any appreciation of it.

Ethel ses O Joe you are mistaken. Your voice was perfectly terrible. The whole neighborhood was scared but never mind that now. I want to talk about the singing in the movies. Did you think it was natural for the fellow to sing to the girl he loved from up in a tree? I ses I do not remember any fellow singing that way tonight and Ethel ses no I guess that was in another movie. He sang from a tree outside her bedroom window and she sat up in bed and listened in a negligee.

I ses well I still do not remember it. I ses the only singing I remember tonight was when the three little girls with their hair hanging down came out and went woo woo woo woo woo and when the fellow who played the part of the hero was singing at the girl he loved after they had all that trouble getting together and she confessed she loved him also.

I ses Ethel you must admit it was natural for the fellow to sing at the girl he loved then and Ethel ses well Joe it may have been natural all right but I am still wondering if it was necessary.